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After months of preparing and applying to your dream universities, you are waiting for their response. But one of your top universities puts you on a waiting list. What do you do now? What is a waitlist? What to do if you are waitlisted? We’re going to answer all of these questions and many more. Read on!



1.     What is a waitlist?
2.     Decide whether to stay on the waitlist
3.     Boost your chances of getting in
4.     Securing a spot

The universities often do not give a reason for putting you on a waitlist. Most universities do not rank or prioritise their waitlists and pick students off these waitlists to befit institutional requirements. They reconsider the entire pool of waitlisted applicants to fill up the gap of qualified applicants who rejected their offer of admission.

What is a waitlist?

The waitlist is a pool of applicants who are neither accepted nor rejected. If you are on a waitlist, it simply means that the college would like to have you in the class but something is holding up your acceptance. Now, this could be anything from a competitive applicant pool to low test scores to unclear future goals. But being waitlisted doesn’t necessarily mean that you give up or wait around for your fate to unfold. It’s time for you to boost your chances of getting in.

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Decide whether to stay on the waitlist

If you wish to stay on the waitlist and be reconsidered for admission, your next step is to inform the admission office about the same. Although no fee is charged to stay on the waitlist, some universities require students to fill out an online form while some can be informed via an email through their admissions portal. Before deciding, find out if there are any conditions attached, your chances of acceptance and housing and financial aid options since most of these resources might be already exhausted. Some colleges might be willing to let you know your chances of acceptance. Even if you decide against staying on the waitlist, you should inform the college and vacate a spot for somebody else. You would want others to do that for you too! Despite this, you should also consider colleges that have offered you confirmed admission.

Decide whether to stay on the waitlist

Boost your chances of getting in

Getting waitlisted is your cue to work on your application for it to be reconsidered. Since most of the waitlists are not ranked, try to boost your chances of getting in. You could start by writing a letter to the admission’s cell to show your interest in the university. Moreover, you could mention non-academic credentials, additional courses or activities you undertook since submitting your application–that could help your case. Next, you could try to improve your results on ACT, SAT, GMAT or other exams with a retake. If your GPA is low, you could enrol in online courses to prove your academic calibre and skills. Additionally, you could also request another (or first) interview and leave a personal impression on the admissions committee.

Securing a spot

Decisions on the waitlists do not come until well after the May 1 enrollment deadline. Since a low percentage of students get accepted off the waitlist, it is better to secure a spot at one of the other colleges that offered you admission. This does not hurt your chances of being reconsidered off the waitlist, though you might risk a deposit. But in the end, you ensure that you have a place in one of your other choices.

Getting waitlisted might sound like a defeat but it is not the end of your dreams. We at Jamboree help thousands of students every year make it to their dream universities. Book a free fifteen-minute session with our counsellor.

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